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Wegmans Goes Local with Canned Mushrooms


[Release date]2012-07-24
[Core hints]In a July 23 Fresh Stories blog post, Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president, consumer affairs with Rochester, N.Y.-ba
 In a July 23 Fresh Stories blog post, Mary Ellen Burris, senior vice president, consumer affairs with Rochester, N.Y.-based Wegmans Food Markets, said the retailer changed from “trusted sources in China” to a local supplier for its store brand canned mushrooms. The decision was made in response to customers’ expressing “strong emotions about products labeled as coming from outside the U.S.”
 
Wegmans Food You Feel Good about sliced mushrooms, mushroom pieces and stems, and whole mushrooms now are being supplied by Sunny Dell Foods, a family-run operation based out of Oxford, Pa. Burris said the company is “very hands-on in the business” and aware that it must be competitive with Chinese suppliers.
 
“The company has primarily produced canned and frozen mushrooms for restaurants and other food service accounts,” she explained. “We worked with them closely, going through the steps needed to assure ourselves they could meet our high standards for safety, quality and affordability. Three of our quality assurance experts visited the processing plant in Oxford. They discussed some early tweaks needed, such as slowing down the line speed to get more consistent slices.”
 
Burris noted that while it costs more to purchase the canned mushrooms from Sunny Dell Foods, the retailer pays less for shipping than it did while working with its Chinese suppliers.
 
“Another saving: Production can be tailored to more immediate demand because we can busy truckloads as needed, rather than an entire boatload to last us a year,” Burris explained. 
 
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